Studiocanal to Restore, Release Ousmane Sembene’s Classic ‘Mandabi’ in 4K

Elsa Keslassy
·2-min read

Studiocanal is set to restore “Mandabi,” a classic movie directed by celebrated African filmmaker Ousmane Sembène (“Guelwaar,” “Mooladé”) in 4K, and will release it theatrically in spring 2021.

“Mandabi,” which is adapted from Sembène’s classic novel “Le Mandat,” won the Special Jury Prize at Venice in 1968.

The author-turned-filmmaker’s second directorial effort, “Mandabi” shot mainly in his native Wolof tongue and marked the first African-language film to be produced out of West Africa.

“Mandabi” covers subjects close to Sembène’s heart, including colonialism and post-colonial identity. Sembène, who has penned a dozen novels, is also the first African director to garner international recognition, and was the first African member of a jury in Cannes in 1967, following his directorial debut with “Black Girl.”

“Mandabi” is currently available on myCANAL and will receive a theatrical release in the U.K. in March 2021. The movie will then launch theatrically in France later in the year.

Studiocanal will also be releasing “Mandabi” on home entertainment across its territories, including France, U.K., Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Criterion Collection, meanwhile, will be releasing Blu-ray/DVD editions of the film in the U.S. For many global audiences, the upcoming release will be the first opportunity to see the film on the big screen, and to own it on home entertainment.

The deal with Studiocanal comes following the world premiere of the film’s restoration at the Lumière Festival in Lyon, where Sembène’s son, Alain Sembène, was in attendance.

“Seeing the restored version of ‘Mandabi’ by Studiocanal made me really emotional. It brought me back to my time on set with my father and the actors, transporting me back to Dakar in the 1960s,” said Alain Sembène about the restoration.

“When I was a kid, the story made me laugh, but I understood quickly the relevance of the story. A story that is still relevant today, treated with great finesse and accuracy,” he added.
“Mandabi” has been remastered in 4K with Studiocanal’s partners at VDM, scanned from the original 35mm interpositive, which had been badly damaged.

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